Brighton & Hove Albion midfielder Kirsty Barton expressed her pride at becoming a professional footballer and is delighted to have seen the club progress so much over recent years.
Barton is gearing up for her first season as a full-time player and praised the way in which the club has helped to turn her dream into a reality.
She said, “I never thought that professional football would be my job and it’s happened so fast.
“Previously we’d be training until ten o’clock in the evening, go to bed and then be up early the next day to go to work or university.
“It’s improved so much over the years and it’s so pleasing that the youngsters in the RTC [Regional Talent Club] have this to look forward to.
“I have been here for seven years, and it’s such a supportive club. A lot of hard work has gone on behind the scenes to make this happen for us.”
The midfielder also gave an insight into the squad’s daily routine, as the players make the transition from part-time to full-time football.
“Every day we get in for 8am, all have breakfast together and have some injury prevention work before we start the morning session at 10am, which is pitch based.
“Most days would involve double sessions, so we’d then come back and have lunch at 12.30pm before our second session begins at 2pm.
“That may take place in the gym where we’ll work on our strength and spend sessions working on either our upper or lower body.”
Barton also highlighted what she expects from facing the top teams in the country, and feels lessons will be learned heading into Sunday’s match against Bristol City, following last season’s 3-0 defeat to the Robins in the Continental Tyres Cup.
“When you’ve got that passion, and you’re playing the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal, Man City or Liverpool, it gives you that added motivation because we want to be playing at that level.
“The physicality and speed of play will probably be the biggest differences to expect. Our decision making is going to be so important too.
“Looking back at that Bristol game from last season, you could see that we weren’t quite ready for that level yet.
“We played them again in pre-season and beat them, so we proved that we can hold our own against them.”
Tickets are still available for Sunday's game against Bristol City at the Broadfield Stadium. Advance prices are £7 for adults, £6 for over-65s/under-21s, £5 for under-18s and £3 for under-10s.
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